Retirement Planning Considerations at Different Stages of Life

How should you navigate your retirement savings strategy as you progress through different stages of life? Explore our timeline:

  • Just starting out
  • Getting married and starting a family
  • Reaching your peak earning years
  • Preparing to retire

Just starting out


If you are a young adult just starting your first job, chances are you face a number of different financial challenges. College loans, rent, and car payments all may be competing for your hard-earned, yet still entry-level paycheck. How can you even consider setting aside money in your employer-sponsored retirement plan now?

Retirement may feel distant, but the decades ahead offer a significant advantage through compounding. By investing early, your contributions earn returns that are reinvested, potentially earning more returns over time. This compounding effect can significantly grow your savings, making it crucial to start saving now to leverage time as your greatest asset.

Getting married and starting a family

Young family moving into new home

As you navigate the milestones of marriage and starting a family, your financial responsibilities multiply—from mortgage payments to child-care expenses and college savings. Despite the seemingly endless list of monthly expenses, it's crucial to prioritize your retirement savings even amidst competing demands.

If you are considering taking a break for family, leaving the workforce for extended periods not only diminishes retirement savings but also impacts future pension and Social Security benefits. Consider boosting plan contributions before and after the hiatus, or explore increasing your spouse's contributions during your absence. While you may be several years away from retirement, you have time to weather market fluctuations, allowing for potentially aggressive plan investments, but thoroughly evaluate your risk tolerance before deciding.

Reaching your peak earning years

Career woman_rfs

As you progress in your career, you encounter a mix of financial challenges and opportunities. With older children, you may have college bills while caring for aging parents. Healthcare needs and expenses become common while the usual home and car repairs never seem to go away.

On the upside, with over two decades of work experience, you might enjoy your highest-ever salary, making it an opportune moment to ramp up retirement savings. If you're 50 or older, take advantage of catch-up contributions, allowing up to $30,500  annually in 2024 in your employer-sponsored plan, compared to $23,000 for younger contributors. Samalin Wealth can help to define savings goals, investment strategies, and plan for your retirement income effectively. 

Preparing to retire


As retirement approaches, it's essential to strategize how you'll start drawing down your retirement plan assets and adjust your investments to balance growth and asset protection. Samalin Wealth can offer valuable guidance on crucial decisions like managing healthcare costs, exploring income-producing investments, understanding tax implications, potential part-time work, and estate planning. Additionally, familiarize yourself with required minimum distributions (RMDs), which mandate withdrawals starting by April 1 of the year following reaching age 73, unless you're still working for your employer, allowing a delay until retirement.

Other considerations

Throughout your career, you'll encounter pivotal decisions regarding your retirement savings plan. For instance, if your plan allows Roth contributions, weigh the benefits of traditional pre-tax versus Roth contributions. While pre-tax contributions offer immediate tax benefits, Roth contributions provide tax-free withdrawals in the future. Your choice between the two depends on various factors we can provide guidance on.

During financial hardships, resist the urge to resort to loans or hardship withdrawals from your account, as these can impede your retirement savings progress and increase tax obligations. When making decisions about your plan, align it with your overall savings and investment strategies, reviewing it annually and during significant life events to ensure it remains aligned with your goals.

Samalin Wealth can help you structure a curated financial plan that maximizes your income, mitigates risk, and eases your retirement concerns, for all stages of life.

Call on us to make your retirement plan better.

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